The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture in partnership with The Dallas Morning News, will host the second annual Dallas Festival of Ideas February 19-20 at Fair Park. The free event, made possible by Bank of America, will focus on The United City, aiming to help shape Dallas as a city of the future by igniting, uniting and energizing the people of Dallas through the power of ideas and shared purpose. In addition to national keynote speakers and panels moderated by local community leaders focusing on five “city” tracks, the festival will offer interactive sessions, performances from local artists, a compelling literary stage, and the opportunity for members of the community to engage in the year-round committees that turn the festival’s ideas into action.

Each of this year’s five city tracks will kick off Friday night with the introduction of a big idea by a respective keynote in a two-hour opening presentation interspersed with artistic and musical performances by Jason Davis, the Bruce Wood Dance Project, Peter Wood, So So Topic and the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy. The five city tracks will focus on:

The Entrepreneurial City dissecting the entrepreneurial ecosystem along with its expansive and intricate roles with a Friday night keynote by Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Recordings. James Ragland, editor and columnist for The Dallas Morning News, will moderate the Saturday panel with Simmons including: Trey Bowles, co-founder and CEO of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center; Nina Vaca, chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Group; Salah Boukadoum, founder of Impact City; and Gail Warrior, founder and CEO of Warrior Group. In partnership with SMU Meadows School of the Arts and TDJ Enterprises.

The Healthy City weighing how access to healthy lifestyle and food options, as well as mental healthcare, affect a healthy environment will feature Friday keynote Dr. Jennifer Gardy, senior scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. Lauren Silverman, health, science and technology reporter/blogger at KERA, will moderate a Saturday panel discussion among: Dr. Seema Yasmin, staff writer at The Dallas Morning News and professor of public health at The University of Texas at Dallas; Dr. John Siburt, president and COO of CitySquare; Dr. Eric Bing, professor of global health at the George W. Bush Institute; and Regina Montoya, chair of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Task Force on Poverty.

The Educated City examining how to improve Dallas’ scientific and cultural literacy in relation to race and class will feature a Friday keynote by entrepreneur Sarah Prevette. Nicole Stockdale, deputy editorial page editor for The Dallas Morning News, will moderate a Saturday panel among: artist and South Dallas Cultural Center manager Vicki Meek; Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center; Clyde Valentin, director of Ignite Arts Dallas; John Mead, master teacher in science at St. Mark’s School; and Nakia Douglas, principal of the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy in Oak Cliff. In partnership with the Sapphire Foundation.

The Physical City addressing the future of work and competition for workplace growth will feature a Friday keynote by Nikil Saval, editor of n+1. The Saturday panel moderated by Mark Lamster, architectural critic for The Dallas Morning News, will include: Peer Chacko, chief planning officer and director of planning and urban design for the city of Dallas; Ron Stelmarski, design director for the Texas practice of Perkins+Will; Kate Canales, research professor and director of Design and Innovation Programs at the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU; and Inga Saffron, architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In partnership with Earth Day Texas and the David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture of UTA College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs.

The Literary City embracing the role of all literature in shaping and defining a city like Dallas will launch with a Friday keynote by author Alma Guillermoprieto. The Saturday panel will include moderator Lauren Smart, arts and culture editor for the Dallas Observer, with award- winning novelist Merritt Tierce; Lisa Hembry, president and CEO of Literacy Instruction for Texas; Darryl Dickson Carr, professor and chair of English at SMU; and Chris Vognar, culture critic for The Dallas Morning News.

“We’re in the midst of an ideas explosion in Dallas. The recent influx of people from around the world seeking the abounding education and economic opportunities our city offers, along with a global cultural base, presents the perfect setting for the kind of revolutionary thinking that will shape the future,” said Mike Wilson, editor of The Dallas Morning News. “The Dallas Festival of Ideas will provide a platform for the people of Dallas to come together for a healthy discussion of what we need to be thinking about and doing today to have the united city we all want tomorrow.”

All keynote presentations and panels will take place on the Music Hall Main Stage at Fair Park. The Women’s Museum at Fair Park will serve as the festival headquarters on the Saturday and will be full of engaging and interactive activities by artists, non-profits and entrepreneurs for adults and children to enjoy. In the headquarters, Earth Day Texas will launch the 2016 Earth Tank Prize inviting submissions by environmental non-profits looking to further their conservation and sustainability initiatives in Texas. Three winners from these submissions will be awarded a total of $25,000 in prize money at Earth Day Texas 2016. Headquarters at the Women’s Museum will also host four different stages, including:

Auditorium Stage
• The Future of Education is Now: Remaking Learning Environments of the Future featuring Gigi
Antoni, Ashley Bryan, Lisa Lovato and Byron Sanders. In partnership with Commit! and Big Thought.
• Social Impact: The Role of the Entrepreneur in Giving Back to the Community featuring Catherine Cuellar, Tony Fleo, Natalie Gonnella-Platts, Brittany Merrill Underwood, Debra Phares and Sophia Johnson. In partnership with Entrepreneurs for North Texas, SVP Dallas, SMU and the Bush Institute.
• An open mic experience for middle and high schools students to master the art of the spoken word. In partnership with DaVerse Lounge and Big Thought.
• Concussion Forum: Expert Advice for Parents and Trainers featuring Dr. Hunt Batjer, Dr. Kathleen Bell, Dr. Monroe Cullum, the NFL’s Mike Singletary and Dale Hansen. In partnership with UT Southwestern.
• How can Dallas Attract and Retain its Creative Talent? featuring Zannie Voss, Joshua King, Kimi Nikaidoh, Will Richey and So-So Topic.
• Smart City with Roots: How is Dallas Taking a Turn into the 21st Century? featuring Jason Roberts, Alaric Overbey, David Marquis and Jennifer Sanders. In partnership with Earth Day Texas.

Central Zone
• An interactive “Shark Tank” session in partnership with the Arts Entrepreneurship Program of SMU Meadows School of the Arts, where students pitch their ideas and members of the audience vote.
• How to inspire and nurture creativity in children in partnership with Spark!
• A public forum to explore urban design initiatives featuring Jill A. Jordan, Peer Chacko, Brent
Brown, Evan Sheets, Arturo del Castillo in partnership with the city of Dallas.
• A 360 guide to health and wellness with entrepreneur Gail Warrior.
• A workshop outlining the six steps to becoming an entrepreneur in partnership with the Arts
Entrepreneurship Program.

“For the first time, we are offering The Dallas Festival of Ideas as free general admission,” said Dr. Larry Allums, executive director of the Dallas Institute. “While our line-up consists of high profile global keynotes matched with local visionaries, we at the Dallas Institute recognize that the most compelling interests and perspectives on Dallas exist with our general citizenry. We hope everyone will join us to engage in these healthy discussions, void of political pretense or personal gain, to achieve the very worthy goal of uniting our city through good ideas we can support.”

The Performance Stage in the Women’s Museum will feature authentic culture-based experiences with a full day of performances curated by Public City, Will Richey and David Rodriguez, including the Young Women’s Preparatory Network Mexican Dance; S-Ankh Rasa: Sounds of Africa; Cézanne Quartet; the Nruthyashakti Indian Dance Academy; The Horace Bray Jazz Trio; JK Wong Kung Fu Tai Chi/Dance; Caribbean Rhythms with Boricua, Nestor Salazar, and live painting with Terrence Lewis and Erika Krivda.

Also in the Women’s Museum, the Literary Stage will present:

• Take your book from Pile to Publisher with literary agent David Hale Smith and writer J. Suzanne Frank. In partnership with the Wild Detectives
• Reading with Mourners Bench author Sanderia Faye
• Spelling Bee Competition in partnership with Reading Partners
• Reading and Conversation with Pretty Is author Maggie Mitchell. In partnership with the Wild
• Bryan Adams High School Literary Club
• Award-winning Slam Poet and Teacher Joaquin Zihuatanejo
• Best of Oral Fixation, an obsession with True Life Tales

Raquel Vincent

Raquel Vincent is a Dallas-based creative with a knack for words and inspired creative direction. When she's not working, you can find Raquel hitting a gallery opening, working on her book, or thrifting for unforgettable vintage finds. She loves music festivals, tacos, and her rescue cat Berlioz.